Marketing And The Metaphor Of War

Peter Cooper
CRAM International

Parallels between marketing and war are provocative. Marketing objectives and language testify that we are at war, even if we hesitate to accept it. By adopting this outlook, marketing can improve its power, and market research can develop its effectiveness as a weapon of marketing warfare. We can learn from the military, and perhaps they can learn from us.


War is alive and well. Not only in hundreds of armed conflicts since the Second World War and those going on now, but in terms of wars replayed in films, books, computer games and playgrounds, and their surrogates in sports. Marketing is a manifestation of the same motivations.

There are close similarities between the purpose, strategy and tactics involved. Language is similar and the objectives are the same to win (Exhibit 1).